I was in New York City last summer at the Whitehall Ferry Terminal when I received a text. It went something like:
Lenny here. I just got to your hotel lobby.
I had completely forgotten about meeting Lenny. Lenny was a reader who had reached out to me before my trip to New York City last year. We agreed to meet, but now I had completely forgotten about it. I gathered up the kids and made my way in haste to the nearest subway station.
When I finally arrived back at the hotel, I apologized profusely. Lenny smiled politely and waved it off. A lesser person could (and should) have been angry. Phew. Lenny was a forgiving and patient human. But I’d learn that Lenny was more than that.
As we talked, Lenny sat and thoughtfully listened. He wasn’t just waiting to speak as some do. I’d say something and Lenny would listen carefully and then ask me questions about what I had just said. People who are thoughtful listeners are few and far between and these are among the people who I admire most. When words are coming out of your own mouth, you’re not learning anything. So, I find that listeners are usually pretty smart people, even if they don’t readily volunteer words like some folks do.
I’ve also appreciated Lenny’s generosity. As I’ve worked towards my fitness goals, Lenny has offered loads of useful advice and encouragement. I’m a better person for having met Lenny.
I have one more piece of Lenny trivia before I turn the post over to him. In an email conversation, Lenny let me know that he had never seen the Milky Way:
Don’t think I’ve every really had a real clear view of the Milky Way sadly.
This is the cloudy band of stars that make up the center of our galaxy. I first saw it when I was a child and I’ll never forget it. Lenny, when you come out to Colorado, we’re driving up into the mountains so I can show you a killer view the Milky Way.
Hello all you fine readers of the 1500 Days blog. I’m Lenny and I’m not a blogger. There, I said it, now I feel just a little bit better about this whole situation. Instead, I lurk in the shadows, slowly raising my head above water to judge personal finance writing with a cold piercing red pen. Ok, not really, I’m just a proofreader/editor for a whole heap of content for some notable writers, fintech companies, and bloggers in the personal finance community. Actually, that’s what I do for fun these days as a side-hustle. Quick story: Mr. 1500 and I first met in NYC when he forgot to tell me the meet-up he planned for fans of the blog was moved to the next day. I showed up expecting to find fellow FIRE people, but all I got was an empty hotel lobby! To be fair, he did eventually show up and was gracious enough to chat with me for a while. But enough about all of that, on to the most amazing answers to 10 question on a FIRE blog you’ll read today from a person you’ve never heard of… please contain your excitement.
There are approximately 476,492,292,928 personal finance blogs last time I checked. Why should we read yours?
I don’t have a blog. But I do proofread/edit some blogs as my side-hustle/side-gig/freelance-work/gig-economy/the thing that’s all the rage in the FI community these days. I have written some content randomly, but not much of it is about personal finance. I’ve also been featured on several podcasts. Feel free to google Lenny Bron to check out some of those things where I discuss how I began my freelance editing/proofreading from scratch.
Is there anything else you’d like to promote?
Go to theblogproofreader.com to reach me if you’re interested in working with me to help proofread/edit your blog or any other content you might have such as social media posts, articles for online or print publications, or that term paper you forgot to hand in for your final exam in your history class in college (Yes, we all know Napoleon was a bad guy, but did he really deserve all the hate?).
Where do you live? Do you love it, hate it or just meh.
I live Brooklyn, NY. And more specifically in the Coney Island area (it’s where they do the hot dog eating contest every 4th of July). I’ve lived here for roughly 28 years of my life (I’m 35). So you could I say I grew up here. However, I was born in the country of Ukraine, which was actually part of the USSR at the time. My family emigrated to the U.S. in 1989 (around the time the USSR was crumbling in a heap of its own self-doing). So you could say I was really raised in both places. To add to this weird upbringing, the neighborhood I live in is full of other people who immigrated from the USSR as well. So this mish-mash of cultures is where I’ve been raised. My first language is actually Russian, although I definitely feel more comfortable speaking, thinking, writing, and reading in English. So back to the original question at hand, I do love this little neighborhood of mine. I technically live in NYC, about a 5-minute walk from the subway, but I also live far enough away (and a block away from the beach) to not feel like I have people climbing all over me with no space to breathe.
Do you rent or own? What are your thoughts on home ownership?
I currently rent my apartment. The rent is very reasonable for a NYC apartment (~$1,300/month). It is reasonable because it’s a fairly large 2-bedroom apartment. This price range doesn’t happen very often, even in my neighborhood in the outskirts of NYC. The reasonable rent amount is due to the wonderful implementation of rent stabilization. This means the rent can only go up by a certain percentage allowed by the city government (for example, in 2014 & 2015 the rent in NYC was frozen, so our rent remained stable for those 2 years.) And since I have lived in this apartment for 25 years (15 years with my parents and the last 10 years with roommates and now my beautiful wife and newborn daughter), the rent has remained reasonable throughout. MY thoughts on renting vs. owning are simple… do the math! It’s much easier for me to link to an amazing article written by one of my favorite bloggers to better explain the concept.
What do you do for a living?
I’m currently a TV director at a 24-hour news network. This is a crazy job in so many different ways. And I can’t even begin to explain how ridiculous it can get at times. I sometimes love my job (when things actually go right), and sometimes I’m not a big fan of my job (there’s a good bit of pressure for every little thing to go right). My side-gig, and the thing I devote a good chunk of my free time toward is proofreading/editing online content. I work with some great writers of blogs, fintech companies, and other personal finance content.
How old are you and do you have a family?
I’m 35 years old. I have an amazing wife and a newborn daughter (born in June 2018).
Transportation (how do you get around): car, train, bus, bike or VTOL.
My main form of transportation is an 8-car subway. Which happens to be above-ground when it’s in my neighborhood. This is the way I get to work and the easiest way to visit friends in Manhattan or the other boroughs. My wife currently does most of her business in Long Island, so she needs an actual vehicle to get to and from that area. We purchased a 2013 Toyota Prius as her main mode of transportation. It’s our family car, and I love it. The gas mileage is amazing ~50mpg, and it handles well too. The car had over 100,000 miles on it when we bought it and we snagged it for under $10,000 from a private seller. One day, however, I dream of driving around in a sweet new (or slightly used) Tesla Model 3.
How do you stay fit? (If you’re one of those crazy Crossfit people, please don’t tell me that I suck because I don’t do it. This has happened.)
I have a fairly regimented workout schedule I’ve been doing for roughly 10 years now. This includes p90x routines being alternated every 2-months 3 times per week and running 3 times per week. This question opens up a whole can of worms about my workout routine. I don’t want to get too detailed because this might turn into a much longer answer that nobody reading a FI blog would enjoy reading. Feel free to email me at email@example.com to discuss working out, I’m always happy to get good workout advice.
Is your goal financial independence? If so, where are you on the journey?
FI is my goal! I’m not sure where exactly in the journey I’m located because it’s a bit of a moving target. Our current situation is strange because my wife is in a position to buy/take over a business in the very near future. This will theoretically allow me to retire from my full-time job within a few years if I so desire. I can then continue working as a freelance editor/proofreader while staying home with our daughter. We also have a fairly large amount of money saved up in case we fall on hard times. A healthy 6-month emergency fund, a 6-figure 401k/IRA and also a 6-figure taxable account which currently brings our net worth to around $400,000. (I’m not sure I want to give a specific figure out to the world just yet, although Mr. 1500 has inspired me to consider it since he’s so transparent with his numbers.) My wife also has no plans of retiring any time soon, strangely enough, she loves what she does for a living! So combined with her continued success with her business and me being able to bring in money as a freelancer we’d probably be doing fine no matter when I decide to take the plunge into official retirement from a full-time job.
What is your FI number? How close are you?
We don’t exactly have a FI number. With a newborn, we’re starting to see a bit of a climb in our spending. To be safe, I’d say at this point our FI number is $1,500,000. But that’s not set in stone, and also isn’t exactly necessary if we can both keep bringing in money with things we love doing! I can continue freelance editing/proofreading and do some freelance work in TV and my wife can happily run her business for many years to come. I’m just looking forward to the flexibility of being able to stay home and take care of the house and our child if I wanted to.
Do you track your spending? If so, how?
Yes, for the last 3 years. My wife and I have been tracking our spending on a shared spreadsheet in google docs. We manually enter every purchase into the spreadsheet. Although it can seem like a tedious thing to do, I can guarantee you it’ll make you think about every single thing you ever buy. We only have 3 columns in the spreadsheet for the date/type of expense/amount. After the end of the month, my wife enters this monthly information into a yearly spreadsheet she so beautifully made from scratch with all of our earnings and spending for the year. This is a great way to tell at the end of the year exactly how much we ended up saving… and I’m pretty proud to say we hit 60% last year! We’ll see what happens this year, but with some extra baby-related expenses that savings rate might not be sustainable.
What is your worst money mistake?
I lived paycheck-to-paycheck for years! About 8 years right out of college until roughly 4 years ago. Something finally clicked, and I realized I needed to get out of a job that was going nowhere and wasn’t paying me enough to begin saving some real money for my future. The real catalyst for this is probably meeting my wife. I figured she’d be the one early on, and I knew we couldn’t start our lives together without feeling financially secure. So a few months after we met I began searching for a new job. It took a while, but I landed a position that was essentially a 100% raise!!! So my biggest mistake wasn’t that I lived paycheck-to-paycheck, it was that I didn’t decide to start looking for an upgrade in my career trajectory sooner than I did.
Thanks so much for your responses Lenny!
Lenny is a gifted proofreader. There are times when I’ve read a post like 48 times and I’m convinced it’s ready to go. Then, I have Lenny look at it and he finds like 192 errors. If you’re looking for someone to help you out with your words, Lenny is your person. And don’t just take it from me. Here he is in the Rockstar Finance directory:
Thanks again Lenny. I’m happy to call you my friend and I hope that our paths cross again soon.
Join the 10s who have signed up already!
Subscribing will improve your life in incredible ways*.
*Only if your life is pretty bad to begin with.